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Lot of 8 Civil War letters by Corporal George T. Crawford of the 5th US Cavalry, Co. C. Crawford describes his tumultuous term of service in 8 letters home; 7 to his mother, and one to his aunt. One letter, datelined Harrisons Bar, James River, VA, 30 August 1862 just following the Peninsula Campaign, reads in part, ''...On the 31st of July about 12 o'clock at night the Rebels came down on the opposite side of the River and commenced throwing shell in our camp and all the men left taking the Horses with them, and I was sick and not able to ride, and stayed in my tent in bed, the shell fell so near my tent as to throw the mud all over it. One solid six pound shot buried itself between my tent and the tent next to me. I have the 'crature' now as a memento...It seems a miracle that one did not light in my tent but I escaped without seeing one until next morning. I went to sleep during the fire and said to myself if a shell happens to drop in my tent I think it will wake me up. I slept until some of our big guns got in position, and then I had to wake for they make such a noise it would waken 'hamen'...'' He concludes the letter ominously, ''...I am alright now but can not say how long I shall remain so for no person knows the fortunes of war...'' Of Gettysburg, he writes to his Aunt on 17 July, 1863, ''...I very luckily escaped the Battle of Gettysburgh, although our regiment was engaged, and that too very hard being dismounted and fighting on foot. Our squadron Co. C & T. were detailed for Picket at Emmettsburgh that day, and in that way escaped, but I have been in every other cavalry engagement under Genl Beauford since then. I am in Marriott's Brigade, Bufords Division of the Cavalry Corps and the company is 1st Lieut. Leicester Walker as brave and fine officer as can be found in the Army of the Potomac...'' On 12 June 1863 Crawford writes of the bloody Battle of Brandy Station three days before - the largest cavalry battle in mainland American history. Crawford reports, ''...I can not write much now as I am very tired. We have just returned from a very severe battle, and I ask you to join in praise to the giver of all good things that I am spared. Our regiment lost fourty killed and wounded. Mother I am glad you like your new home and sincerely hope you will never see as much trouble in thar as in the one you just left...'' Regarding Fredericksburg he writes, from near Brooks Station on 18 December 1862, ''...how I wish I could be home to cheer you. Every week brings to me the S.T. Farmer and my first thought is to look at the deaths to see if you are still alive. O Mother, how I wish I could help you, but...we have now six months pay due us, amounting to over sixty dollars...Forgive me Mother for indeed it is not my fault. Perhaps you do not [illegible] me, but I well know that my relatives do...Would to God that some rebel bullet had pierced my body if I ever think the less of you than I do now, or than a son should think of a fond mother. You have heard me praised by my officers as a good soldier, and I should feel mortified to be stamped one less but less as a son. The late battle at Fredericksburgh has caused the death of many an honest man but I was not called into action but for four days stood at my horse's head, ready to mount him and be off for the battle field should I be required. The day before the battle I saw all of my friends from Jamaica who belong to the 40th or Mozart Regiment, but if they are all alive now is more than I can expect, the slaughter was terrible The papers have modified it ten fold. Mother keep up your spirits. I believe there has been an order published that all men enlisted for 5 years in 1861 are to be discharged in three years, therefore I have but sixteen months to serve, then I shall return to you again should my life be spared...The least of things to make a soldier cheerful is deprived us, that is his pipe, for like grandmother, 'I find solace in the weed' [tobacco]...Day before yesterday some of our men got some of the tobacco the rebels threw into the river & they gave me a piece, and I have been really more cheerful over this three inches square of tobacco & a corn cob pipe than I have been for months...'' Earlier that year Crawford survived a case of smallpox in the Eruptine Fever Hospital in Washington D.C., writing, ''...I was taken very ill...I arose and dressed myselfe and washed and when I went to look in the looking glass to comb my head I found my face completely covered with little pimples, which I supposed was caused by a fever that I had had the day previous; about nine o'clock in the morning the doctor came down to see me and when I asked him what was the cause of the pimples he told me that I had the smallpox, and that he would have to send me to the Smallpox Hospital. I was taken away immediately...The Doctors are very kind, and the nurses are men, who have been sick with this awful disease and have recovered. Nearly every day I see some poor being carried out, he having 'gone to that bourne whence no traveller returns'. I have become so well as to be able to help those who are sick and to help the doctors in their office in making out their papers...I shall never be alarmed to go where the disease is prevalent. The method that they have of treating the smallpox at this hospital is such as to leave the patient free from the marks that usually remain upon a persons face after he is well. Nevertheless, if a person picks the scab from his face, wherever he does it will leave a mark & Doctor Thomas, the surgeon in charge informs me that the person picking his face while the pustules are yet green are the cause of the pits upon the face. As for me I don't think I shall have one upon myself...When I received your letter my face was so much [illegible] that I was perfectly blind and could not read it until three days after its receipt; even then I had to take my fingers and take hold of my eyelashes and pull my eye open and read the letter...'' From near Falmouth, VA on 14 January 1863 Crawford writes, ''...I have just now sold my jacket to a fellow soldier...to help you in your wants...George / P.S. Kiss all the children and tell them it is for me. Draw them all around you and let them know I have not forgotten them...Tell them I may never again tell them I love them a dreadful battle is soon before us...Grandmother, that dear good old soal. I love her to...George''. One letter, dated a month after Crawford survived Brandy Station is from James Getty to the family. It reads, ''...painful as this is...on the 21st of this month while our Brigade of Cavalry (1st Reg) was in the mountains at Manassas Gap watching the movement of the enemy we ran into an ambuscade of Rebel Infantry on the road heading to Port Royall an about three miles from the later place the Rebels opened a volley of Musketry on us from a whole Brigade when Corporal George T. Crawford was killed...he was buried at a little tree in Manassas Gap about three miles north of Front Royall...James Getty / 1st Sergeant Co. C 5th US Cavalry''. An additional letter from 5th Cavalry Captain Julius W. Mason eulogizes Crawford, ''...He was killed at the head of my advancing column, and at that particular moment we were forced to fall back by an overwhelming force of rebels Infantry. He being formerly a resident of my Wifes home, I have taken more than ordinary interest in his career, and can assure you that when we lost him we lost one of the bravest most gallant and accomplished Soldiers...'' Lot also includes several partially-printed documents related to the final pay and pensions entitled to Crawford's mother. Letters show toning and separation to folds, with one letter showing some paper loss to integral blank, else near fine.
Civil War Letter Archive by KIA Corp. George Crawford of the 5th US Cavalry -- Battle of Brandy Station, Smallpox, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg -- ''...the slaughter was terrible...''
Civil War Letter Archive by KIA Corp. George Crawford of the 5th US Cavalry -- Battle of Brandy Station, Smallpox, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg -- ''...the slaughter was terrible...''
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0
Number Bids: 0
Auction closed on Thursday, October 30, 2014.
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